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Guatemala Itinerary: 1 Week Travel Itinerary


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Myrlene Javier



Welcome to Guatemala, a country rich in culture, history, and natural beauty. Nestled in Central America, this captivating destination offers a plethora of experiences for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion. From ancient Mayan ruins to stunning volcanic landscapes and vibrant indigenous communities, Guatemala has something for everyone.


In this 1-week travel itinerary, we will guide you through the must-visit destinations and activities that will allow you to make the most of your time in Guatemala. Starting with the bustling capital city of Guatemala City, we will venture to the colonial gem of Antigua, explore the dramatic landscapes surrounding Lake Atitlan, uncover the intriguing Mayan ruins of Tikal, and experience the breathtaking natural wonder of Semuc Champey.


Throughout your journey, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and traditions of Guatemala. From sampling delicious local cuisine to interacting with the indigenous communities, you will gain a deeper understanding of this diverse and enchanting country.


It is important to note that this itinerary can be customized based on your preferences and available time. Whether you are a history enthusiast, nature lover, or simply seeking a relaxing getaway, Guatemala is sure to leave a lasting impression. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Central America!


Day 1: Arrival in Guatemala City

Welcome to Guatemala! Your adventure begins as you touch down in Guatemala City, the capital and largest city of the country. Upon arrival at La Aurora International Airport, you will be greeted by the warm hospitality of the Guatemalan people.


After settling into your accommodations, take some time to explore the city and get a taste of its vibrant energy. Start by visiting the historic center, known as “Centro Histórico,” where you can wander through the charming streets lined with colonial architecture and vibrant markets.


Be sure to visit the iconic Plaza Mayor, the main square of the city, and take in the sights of the impressive Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace. You can also explore the nearby museums, such as the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, to learn about the rich history and culture of Guatemala.


In the evening, indulge in traditional Guatemalan cuisine at one of the city’s many delicious restaurants. Don’t miss the opportunity to try typical dishes such as pepián (a hearty stew), tamales, or elote loco (grilled corn with various toppings). Wash it down with a refreshing glass of horchata or atol de elote, traditional Guatemalan beverages.


If you’re looking for some entertainment, head to the Zona Viva, a popular area known for its vibrant nightlife. Here, you’ll find an array of lively bars, clubs, and restaurants where you can dance to the rhythm of Latin music and enjoy the energetic atmosphere.


After a day of exploring Guatemala City, return to your hotel and get a good night’s rest. Tomorrow, we will venture to the charming colonial city of Antigua, just a short drive away.


Day 2: Explore Antigua

Get ready to be transported back in time as we spend the day exploring the picturesque city of Antigua. Located just an hour away from Guatemala City, Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well-preserved colonial architecture and vibrant cultural scene.


Start your day with a leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets, taking in the charming atmosphere. Admire the colorful facades of the restored buildings, adorned with beautiful bougainvillea and decorative wrought iron balconies. Be sure to have your camera ready, as every corner of Antigua offers a photo-worthy moment.


One of the iconic landmarks of Antigua is the Santa Catalina Arch, a symbol of the city. This yellow archway was originally built in the 17th century as a passage between the nuns’ convent and the school. Today, it serves as a popular photo spot with stunning views of the surrounding volcanoes.


Continue your exploration by visiting the Central Park, the heart of Antigua. Relax on one of the benches and soak in the atmosphere while observing the locals going about their day. The park is also home to the Cathedral of San José, a magnificent church that has withstood earthquakes and volcanic eruptions throughout history.


For a deeper understanding of the city’s history, visit the Casa Santo Domingo Museum. Housed in a former monastery, this museum showcases archaeological artifacts, religious art, and provides insights into the history of the Dominican order in Guatemala.


No visit to Antigua is complete without indulging in its culinary delights. Explore the local food markets or dine at one of the city’s renowned restaurants to sample traditional Guatemalan dishes like chiles rellenos, platanos en mole, or a hearty bowl of kakik (a traditional turkey soup).


In the evening, embrace the cultural scene of Antigua by attending a live music performance or visiting one of the many art galleries that showcase the works of local artists. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not join a salsa or tango class and learn some Latin dance moves?


After a day immersed in the captivating atmosphere of Antigua, return to your hotel and rest up for more exciting adventures in the days to come.


Day 3: Hike to Pacaya Volcano

Prepare for a day full of adventure as we embark on a hike to Pacaya Volcano, one of Guatemala’s most iconic natural wonders. Rising at an elevation of 2,552 meters (8,373 feet), Pacaya offers breathtaking views and the opportunity to witness volcanic activity up close.


Start your day early and make your way to the base of Pacaya Volcano, which is located approximately one hour from Antigua. Once you arrive, you will meet your experienced guide who will lead you on this exciting journey.


The hike to Pacaya’s summit takes around 2-3 hours, depending on your pace and fitness level. As you ascend, you’ll be surrounded by lush vegetation and the fascinating landscape of the volcanic region. Your guide will provide insightful information about the volcano’s geological history, as well as the local flora and fauna.


When you reach the top, be prepared to be amazed by the panoramic views of the surrounding volcanoes, valleys, and Lake Amatitlán. On clear days, you may even catch a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean in the distance.


But the adventure doesn’t end there. Pacaya Volcano is still an active volcano, and if conditions permit, you’ll have the opportunity to witness its volcanic activity. Feel the heat as you approach the lava flow and marvel at the glowing red-hot rocks. It’s an experience that will surely leave a lasting impression.


After exploring the volcano and taking in the stunning vistas, begin your descent back to the base. You can reward yourself with a well-deserved picnic lunch surrounded by nature or enjoy a meal at one of the nearby restaurants.


As the day comes to a close, return to Antigua and take some time to relax and reflect on the incredible adventure you’ve just experienced. Tomorrow, we will continue our journey to the captivating landscapes of Lake Atitlan.


Day 4: Visit Lake Atitlan

Get ready to discover the breathtaking beauty of Lake Atitlan, a true gem of Guatemala. Known for its stunning volcanic landscapes and vibrant indigenous communities, Lake Atitlan offers a serene and idyllic setting for a day of exploration.


Start your day with a scenic drive from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, which takes around 2-3 hours. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by the shimmering blue waters of the lake and the towering volcanoes that surround it.


The best way to experience the beauty of Lake Atitlan is by taking a boat tour. Hop on a traditional wooden lancha (boat) and set sail to explore the charming villages that dot the lakeshore. Each village has its own unique character and cultural traditions.


One of the must-visit villages is San Juan La Laguna, known for its vibrant art scene. Take a stroll through the quaint streets lined with colorful murals and visit the local cooperatives and workshops where indigenous artisans create exquisite textiles, paintings, and pottery.


Continue your boat tour to Santiago Atitlan, a village rich in Maya traditions. Explore the local market and witness the blending of Catholic and Mayan religious practices at the Santiago Atitlan Parish Church. Don’t forget to visit the Maximon shrine, where you can witness the unique Mayan deity worship.


After the village visits, indulge in a delicious lakeside lunch at one of the charming restaurants overlooking the water. Feast on traditional Guatemalan cuisine while taking in the breathtaking views of the lake and volcanoes.


In the afternoon, you can choose to relax on one of the lakeside beaches or take part in outdoor activities such as kayaking or paddleboarding. Alternatively, embark on a short hike to one of the viewpoints around the lake for a panoramic vista that will leave you in awe.


As the day comes to an end, savor a beautiful sunset over the lake, capturing the stunning colors reflecting on the water. Return to your hotel and enjoy a peaceful evening, reflecting on the natural wonders and cultural richness of Lake Atitlan.


Tomorrow, we will embark on a journey to the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world.


Day 5: Explore Mayan Ruins in Tikal

Get ready to step back in time as we embark on a journey to the ancient Mayan city of Tikal. Located deep within the rainforests of Guatemala, Tikal is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world.


Start your day early as we take a short flight from Guatemala City to Flores, the gateway to Tikal. From Flores, it’s a short drive to the Tikal National Park, where the ancient city is located.


As you step foot into the park, you’ll be transported to a world of towering pyramids, majestic temples, and lush greenery. Embark on a guided tour that will take you through the expansive archaeological site, filled with awe-inspiring structures built by the Mayan civilization over 1,000 years ago.


Wander through the Great Plaza, the heart of Tikal, where you’ll find the iconic Temple I (Temple of the Great Jaguar) and Temple II (Temple of the Masks). These towering structures offer panoramic views of the ancient city and the surrounding jungle.


Continue your exploration by visiting the North Acropolis, a complex of royal tombs that provides fascinating insights into Mayan burial practices and traditions. Don’t miss the Temple IV, the tallest structure in Tikal, which offers unparalleled views of the entire archaeological site and the canopy of the rainforest.


As you navigate through the site, keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that calls Tikal home. From howler monkeys swinging through the trees to colorful toucans and coatis scurrying about, the biodiversity of the area adds to the enchantment of the experience.


Take a moment to sit in the shade of a temple and imagine what life was like during the height of the Mayan civilization. Feel the ancient energy that still permeates the site and imagine the bustling marketplaces, ceremonial rituals, and the daily lives of the Mayan people.


After a day of exploration, return to Flores and take some time to relax and reflect on the remarkable history and beauty of Tikal. Sample some of the delicious local cuisine in one of the lakeside restaurants before resting for the night.


Tomorrow, our adventure continues as we travel to the lush region of Semuc Champey, where natural wonders await.


Day 6: Discover Semuc Champey

Get ready for an unforgettable day as we venture to the natural wonders of Semuc Champey. Located in the lush region of Alta Verapaz, Semuc Champey is known for its crystal-clear turquoise pools and breathtaking limestone bridges.


After an early breakfast, we will embark on a scenic drive through the picturesque countryside to reach Semuc Champey. As you approach, the verdant greenery and the sound of rushing water will indicate your arrival at this hidden gem.


Upon arrival, prepare to be amazed by the beauty of Semuc Champey. Marvel at the natural limestone bridge formation, created by the Cahabón River, which forms a series of stepped pools. Each pool showcases a different shade of blue, inviting you to take a refreshing dip in its cool waters.


Start by hiking up to the viewpoint to admire the panoramic vista of the entire area. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the pools nestled amongst the vibrant green jungle, creating a postcard-perfect scene.


After taking in the views, descend to the pools and spend the day swimming, sunbathing, and simply relaxing in this enchanting natural setting. Explore the pools at your leisure, enjoying the tranquil atmosphere and the soothing sounds of cascading waterfalls.


For the more adventurous, there are opportunities for adventure activities such as cave exploration and tubing down the Cahabón River. Navigate through narrow tunnels and swim through underground chambers lit only by headlamps, experiencing the thrill of exploring the hidden secrets of Semuc Champey.


As lunchtime approaches, savor a delicious picnic amidst the natural beauty of Semuc Champey. Fuel up on a variety of local snacks and traditional Guatemalan dishes while soaking up the peaceful ambiance and scenic surroundings.


In the afternoon, take one last dip in the pools or snap some final photos to capture the magic of Semuc Champey. As the day comes to an end, make your way back to your accommodations, reflecting on the remarkable natural beauty and tranquility you experienced at Semuc Champey.


Tomorrow, we will return to Guatemala City for our final day of the itinerary before bidin farewell to this beautiful country. But for now, take some time to relax and prepare for the next adventure.


Day 7: Return to Guatemala City and Departure

On our final day, we will return to Guatemala City to conclude our unforgettable journey through Guatemala. After breakfast, we will embark on a scenic drive back to the capital.


Upon arrival, take the opportunity to explore any last-minute attractions or activities you may have missed during your first day in Guatemala City. Visit the fascinating museums, such as the Museo Popol Vuh or the Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Textiles and Clothing, to learn more about the country’s history and culture.


If you’re interested in shopping for souvenirs, make your way to the Mercado Central, a bustling market where you can find a wide array of traditional handicrafts, textiles, and unique Guatemalan products.


For a taste of local flavors, indulge in a traditional Guatemalan lunch at one of the city’s acclaimed restaurants. Savor the flavors of pepián, revolcado, or a delicious plate of guacamole and tortillas.


After lunch, take some time to relax and reflect on your incredible journey through Guatemala. Think back on the vibrant colors, enchanting landscapes, and warm hospitality that made your trip truly memorable.


In the late afternoon, it will be time to bid farewell to this captivating country. Transfer to La Aurora International Airport for your departure, taking with you the memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.


As you board your flight, remember the beauty of Antigua, the thrill of hiking Pacaya Volcano, the serenity of Lake Atitlan, the awe of Tikal’s ruins, and the natural wonders of Semuc Champey.


Guatemala has shown you its rich culture, history, and breathtaking landscapes, but it’s only a taste of what this remarkable country offers. As you leave, you’ll undoubtedly feel a desire to return and explore even more of Guatemala’s treasures.


Thank you for joining us on this incredible journey, and may your memories of Guatemala and its wonders inspire you to embark on further adventures around the world.